Field Maple Lat: Acer campestre
Sycamore Maple Lat: Acer pseudoplatanus
Who does not know it, the jagged maple leaf? Symbol of the Canadian flag.
I have access mainly to the wood of field or sycamore maple.
The scattered-pored, hard and very tough wood is very light in color. The wood of the maple tree is difficult to split but easy to work, carve and plane. If it has a special grain, it can tear out when planed.
Some trees develop a special type of grain called rigel.
Field maple dry weight: 650-750 kg/m³
Sycamore maple dry weight: 600-700 kg/m³.
Woodturning and carving. General joinery work in interior design. Also well suited for kitchen utensils, axe and tool handles. Burl pieces and rootstocks provide beautiful veneers. If the maple develops the so-called latch, this wood is highly sought after for the construction of stringed instruments.
Lat: Pirus communis, Fam: Rosaceae
Mostly I use wood from pear trees whose fruit was used for cider production.
So-called cider pear trees reach a stately size of 15 to 20 meters with a trunk diameter of up to 90 cm. These true giants can live for several centuries.
The scattered-pored, hard wood is reddish brown. As with many woods, there are countless color variations from light pink to flesh tones. The wood is difficult to split, but easy to machine, carve and plane.
Often there is a wavy growth which is easily noticeable on the planed surface. However, a pronounced grain, such as that of sycamore maple, is less common. As far as I know, this type of grain in fruitwoods is called blister.
Dry weight: 650-750 kg/m³
Woodturning and carving. General interior joinery. In cabinetmaking for marquetry and inlay work. Tool handles, lathe work and early drawing instruments (rulers, drawing triangles, curve rulers. In instrument making it is used in the manufacture of recorders.
If ice sticks are made of wood, the wood of the pear tree is preferred by the woodturners.
Lat: Maclura Pomifera, Fam: Moraceae
My absolute favorite wood Osage Orange.
It is originally native to North America, supposedly Maria Theresa brought it to Austria/Hungary. In Hungary there are since then large stocks of this tree species. Since my first contact with this wood in 1999 I have been enthusiastic about it. All handles of my tools are made of Osage. Various kitchen utensils and tablespoons are made of Osage orange.
The wood of the Osage tree is very hard, long grained and very tough. It is freshly cut lemon to golden yellow, sometimes a slightly darker orange color occurs. Rarely I got Osage with dark stripes in my hands.
Osage is relatively easy to split, but because of its growth habit, it is difficult to machine, and even more difficult to plane. Knives or plane irons must always be perfectly ground and only very high quality tools can be used for machining.
Dry weight: 690 to 780 kg/m³.
Because it is highly resistant to decay pathogens, it is used in North America for fence posts and railroad ties. It is also used to make tobacco pipes and woodturning.
The native Americans made their bows from Osage, among other things. In my opinion there is no better wood than Osage for a bow which should be made from one piece of wood.
Cutlery made of Osage Orange has a very special charm. It feels very supple despite its hardness.
I hope I can find a way to plane chopsticks out of this special wood. I would prefer to make everything from Osage for myself. However, sourcing from America or Hungary is difficult, especially very expensive.
Lat: Juglans regia, Fam: Juglandacceae
Nut trees can become real giants. They reach a stately size of up to 20 meters with a trunk diameter of up to 200 cm.
The scattered-pored, hard wood is reddish brown. As with many woods, there are countless color variations from light pink to flesh tones. The wood is difficult to split but easy to work, carve and plane. Often there is a wavy growth which is easily noticeable on the planed surface. However, a pronounced grain, such as that of curly maple, is less common.
Dry weight: 650-750 kg/m³.
Highly sought after in cabinetmaking, further for rifle stocks and butts. High-quality interior decoration of luxury properties. Turning and carving. In instrument making it is used in organ and piano making.
Lat: Prunus domestica, Fam: Rosaceae
The wood of the plum tree is considered one of the hardest timber in Central Europe. The trees rarely reach medium size. The wood has a narrow and light sapwood. The heartwood is reddish brown with light and dark features ranging from light pink to dark purple. It is our most colorful wood with its wide spectrum of colors.
The wood is very hard and brittle. A log is very difficult to split and must be dried with great care, slowly and carefully. It is prone to very severe cracking and throwing. It is difficult to plane, the tool must be very sharp.
Furthermore, plum trees begin to rot from the inside as they grow. A healthy trunk with a diameter of 25 to 30 cm is a rarity. To get it dry without cracks is an art in itself. If you have managed this, you have a real treasure in your hands.
Because of these properties, it is almost not used in carpentry.
Dry weight: 750 - 850 kg/m³
Woodturning and carving. In cabinetmaking for marquetry and inlay work and instrument making.